Interview: Danny Howard
Danny Howard has exploded to the forefront of the dance music world with an encyclopaedic DJ booth presence: Global Gathering, Gatecrasher, Ministry of Sound, Pacha NYC, Creamfields, the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, and a weekly residency at Pacha in Ibiza.
Not to be outdone by gigs, Danny also boasts some 1.8 million listeners on his BBC Radio 1 Dance Anthems show, a monthly British Airways podcast, and a monthly column in DJ Mag – Danny Howard is certainly not a man to shy away from responsibility.
Yet another of these responsibilities has been head of his own Nothing Else Matters imprint, which was launched in 2013. Now, Danny Howard has released the first in a new series of underground focused dance music on the imprint. Entitled “Fire Beats Vol. 1,” the compilation (which you can preview at the end of this article) features original productions from Alexis Raphael, Siege, Solardo, and Unorthodox. With the monumental release at hand, we caught up with Danny to get the scoop inside his mind.
“I think when you first hear a track you can almost instantly recognize if it’s something for you or not.”
Why did you decide to curate ‘Fire Beats Vol 1’?
When I started the label I always wanted there to be two varying types of releases, which reflect what I do at radio and also the music I truly love to play out in the clubs. This EP shows the label’s more underground side and also gives a snapshot into some of the sounds I’m playing out in my own DJ sets. I wanted to create something that was strictly for the club and DJ’s…
Will there be more volumes to come and what can we expect of the series?
100%! These are a collection of tracks that aren’t trying to cross-over, they’re not trying to copy any particular trend nor are they restrictive to any certain style… it’s just four tracks that I can personally guarantee are absolute fire! We’re aiming to do 3 a year, centered around key dates in the dance calendar.
Can you tell us some more about some of the artists that feature on the EP?
I’m really proud of the artists that feature on the first EP… all are gaining massive popularity in within their own field through the brilliant productions they’re putting out.
Solardo are a duo that are getting huge underground support from the likes of Skream, Steve Lawler and Jamie Jones (to name a few) and I love everything they’ve put out recently.
Alexis Raphael is a well respected producer on the scene and I love his track ‘James’. It’s a proper creeper and will have you vibing by the end of it!
Unorthodox is a machine… he sent me about 20 demo’s at once because he’s that prolific in the studio but ‘Thunderbolt’ is the one and as far a tech house goes, is heavy!
Finally, Belgian producer Siege is a guy I’ve supported a lot on my BBC Radio 1 show and in my club sets. Every one of his tracks is a banger so I jumped at the chance of having ‘Play me’ on the EP. It goes off!
The release is coming up on your newly launched label, Nothing Else Matters. How are you finding running a label so far?
Fun and at times, challenging… but mainly fun. I love being able to help artists grow their profile through releasing their music. And also use it as a way of expressing what I love to listen to.
We’re only releasing club level tracks that we really love but keep an eye out for a couple of artists we’ve been working with for the last year writing new music.
How do you select the artists and releases to come out on the label?
I have to truly love the music of course, I think when you first hear a track you can almost instantly recognize if it’s something for you or not. In terms of artists I want to work with people who are interesting and have a bit of edge, not just following the norm or what they think is relevant at the time.